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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 45  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 213-219

Serum serotonin as a potential risk factor in female suicide attempts by poisoning, in different menstrual cycle phases


1 Department of Forensic Medicine and Clinical Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt
2 Department of Neuropsychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Aisha E.A Fattah El-Mihy
Department of Forensic Medicine and Clinical Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Mostafa Kamel Street, Borg El-Kasaby, 6843
Egypt
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DOI: 10.4103/tmj.tmj_28_17

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Background Suicide is a major public and mental health concern worldwide today. It lies behind exceeding numbers of deaths every year. This necessitates studying the causes and risk factors involved in suicidal behavior. Suicide attempts are found to be more common in women, with higher risk during the low estrogen phases of the menstrual cycle. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is proved by many studies to be involved in suicidal behavior. A relation between circulating estrogen levels and serotonergic function is supposed by some studies to explain the link between female suicide attempts and low estrogen phases of the menstrual cycle. Aim The aim of this work was to study serum serotonin level as a potential risk factor in female suicide attempts in the different menstrual cycle phases. Also, this study aimed to investigate the potential correlation between serum serotonin and estrogen levels. Patients and methods This cross-sectional study was carried out on two groups: the suicidal group that included women with suicide attempts who came to Tanta Poison-Control Center during the period from the beginning of July 2015 to the end of December 2015, and the control group that included 25 nonsuicidal apparently healthy female volunteers. The menstrual cycle phase was assessed for those women; the serum serotonin level was estimated by specific ELISA techniques, and the suicidal intent of the suicidal group was assessed by Pierce’s suicidal intent scale. Results and conclusion This study demonstrated that the suicide attempters had significantly lower serum serotonin levels. This significance was observed to be in the menstrual and the whole luteal phases. A significant inverse correlation was found between serum serotonin levels and Pierce’s suicidal intent scale for the women who attempted suicide in the late luteal and menstrual phases. Also, a significant positive correlation was found between serum estrogen and serotonin levels.


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